How To Be A Cool Parent

We can all remember saying, "Please, Mom, don't embarrass me," one time or another. We felt like our parents were just not cool!

In The Early Show's segment Yikes, I'm a Grownup, Martha Quinn takes a look at how this generation of moms and dads can reverse that trend.

Any good parenting magazine will tell you it's important to know what's cool to your kids because it keeps the lines of communication open.

So I headed to the offices of Jump magazine, one of today's hottest teen reads. Editor-in-chief Lori Berger is totally plugged in to what it takes to be a cool parent today.

"The No. 1 rule for cool parenting: You've got to talk to your children about sex," says Berger.

More News
I don't know about you, but when I see teen-agers making out, I just want to go up to them and say, "Hey kids, don't you have homework or Little League or something you can do?"

Even though I might have made out as a teen-ager, once or twice.

Jump receives tons of letters from teens struggling to understand what sex is all about. Inquiring minds want to know, so take a deep breath and give it to them straight.

"To really be in tune with your kids, you have to know the music they're listening to. For girls it's cute boy bands. For guys it's a little more intense. It's being called neo-metal," Berger notes.

But now with Korn and Limp Bizkit there are a lot of four-letter words in music.

"You've got to get past the four-letter words; it's not about the words, but about teen-age angst and self-expression," Berger says.

And what to do about body piercing?

"[My parents] would tell me everyday: 'Take it out! Take it out! Normal people don't have that in their lip,'" says a teen-age Nellie.

Next stop: the mall, that all-important center of teen life. I learned that ethnic is in, faux is fun, and skimpy does not necessarily mean slutty.

"You know parenting today has got to be faith-based not fear-based,"Berger says.

"For guys, it's simple. Bigger is better. This whole look comes from the whole skateboarding movement," she notes.

It's important to understand their world, but you don't have to join it. In fact, it's better if you don't. You'll live a lot longer.

So I'm learning what's cool with teens, from their heads to their toes. So what's a kid's definition of a cool parent?

"I think it's important for your parents to be your friends but not your buddies, 'cause they need to set, like imitations," teen-age Tatiana says, laughing.

And "just because your kid is sitting in their car blasting Limp Bizkit or Blink 182, don't just yell, 'What is that junk! Turn it off!'" says another teen, Vicki.

So kids want parents to set limits, but be open-minded. That would be cool. And guess what else, there's a whole new language going on.

I've learned that nasty has replaced gnarly. And ghetto, is the new cool, but these are some words that parents should not, under any circumstances, be caught using.

Kids want us to know their world, but they also want it to stay their world.

And kids think that being a grownup means being able to do whatever you want. And that might be true until you get married! Then the whole thing starts all over again!

©1999 CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments